What do freckled bananas, podcasts, an Anatomy coloring book, and calling the gym my new home all have in common?

First off, thank you so much to everyone for the birthday wishes! As one of my coworkers told me, we have a birthday week to enjoy, not just the day. So it was a wonderful birthday week. With a little cheating involved in my sugar free kick, but was it ever delicious!

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Back to what these all have in common. For starters, they are my latest obsessions. Okay, maybe obsession is a tad bit strongly phrased so I’ll say my latest, fascinations. They also explain why I have not had much time to sit down and type up an updated blog entry. Not only that, but additionally they go together in the fact that they’ve complimented each other in making my life a little more chaotic, but also manageable and efficient at the same time. Now before you start scratching your head and possibly wondering, “Has living in New York officially made her broke causing her to temporarily reside at the gym, surviving on rotten bananas and left with only podcasts to listen to in the form of entertainment and education?”. The Big Apple hasn’t made me broke, yet. But it has caused me to take a change in direction and move towards something else that I’ve always wanted to do! But more about that later. First let me explain freckled bananas and give you a new protein bread recipe!

Fascination Number One

If you ever find me in the produce section, you’ll notice I spend a significant amount of time being very anal about my selection process. No bruises, ideal coloration, I’ll even smell some of the fruits to make sure they have that fresh, ripe aroma. The first time Luke got to experience this he sat back and said to me “Wow, I feel lucky after watching you pick out your produce. If you take that long to choose which strawberries are better than the others, I can’t even imagine what your selection process is like when it comes to dating guys!” I spent a pretty good amount of time searching and I have to say, I don’t think I could have chosen a better pack of strawberries when it came to Luke Winking smile Enough with the sap though!

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That brings me to one of three things that I’ve been fascinated with. The first has been loading up on bananas so I can make the most delicious (and nutritious) Banana Protein Bread made with no added sugars. After all, I officially have a little over one more week in my 8 week challenge of having no artificial sweeteners and ripe bananas can be a great substitute for a natural sweetener. I’m very excited to say that after a few attempts, I think I managed to come up with a pretty bomb dot com outcome and am in love with the results.

Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bread

Wet Ingredients:
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup peanut butter (all natural)
4 egg whites

Dry Ingredients:
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 scoops protein powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp dried cranberries (naturally sweetened)
2 tbsp chopped walnuts
Cinnamon to taste (I love cinnamon, if you haven’t been able to notice with my other recipes!) so I added in 1/2 tbsp. You can add more or less depending on your preference.

You can also add flax, oat groats, wheat germ, or other seeds/nuts that may add nutritional value or texture. I like a little more texture to mine so I added 3 tbsp oat groats and pumpkin seeds.

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Directions: Blend wet ingredients until smooth. In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together before slowly combining with the wet mixture you just blended. Spray an 8×10 (or whatever you may have that’s comparable) with coconut oil spray (or your healthy oil preference) and pour batter. You can top with sliced almonds, coconut, or oats for decoration. Pop into a preheated oven at 375 degrees for roughly 20 minutes or until you can stick in a fork and slide it out easily. Makes 15-20 bars depending on how big you like them.

Tip: Wrap each bar individually and pop in the freezer to keep for longer. These are also great to grab on the go for busy days or a quick snack while on the run.  freckled banana protein bars

Fascination Number Two

Podcasts, where have you been for all my commutes, long runs, and simply entertaining me when I’m getting things done around the house? Here I have been filling my brain with hours of useless information from watching The Bachelorette (my guilty pleasure) and Friends reruns (I take that back. Joey, Ross, Rachel, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe…you’ve taught me many important lessons in life.) when I could have been feeding my brain with appealing random facts of life!
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Commuting in New York involves a lot of walking, standing on the subway, and more walking to get to that subway. Add in a few runs a week and the time I spend making meals to prepare for a busy week, and that leaves me a good couple of hours a day to listen to something. Up until recently I typically spent my commutes listening to the same songs or attempting to read a book while being squished on the subway. And then…podcasts walked into my life.

What is a podcast?

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                           Source: Stuff Your Mom Never Told You

Okay, I know I’m probably one of the last people to jump on the podcast bandwagon. Story of my life. But if you aren’t familiar with a podcast or have never listened to one, here’s a simple breakdown.

A podcast is basically like listening to the radio only podcasters aren’t restricted by the FCC and are given more freedom with the topics that are covered. These are perfect for those of us with a short attention span who are fascinated by random bits of information. They are also amazing for listening to while commuting or going for lengthy runs as they keep your mind busy and make the time fly.

These podcasts cover everything from new music, a summary of news events, analyzing controversial issues, inspirational/funny/surprising stories, educational enlightenment, and everything in between. Each podcast has an emphasis that they specialize in and from there select a different topic which is typically released daily, biweekly, or weekly. Here are my favorites lately.

freckled                                                Source: Stuff Mom Never Told You
Stuff Mom Never Told You- LOVE the women on this show and the range of topics they cover. They have a great sense of humor and sound prepared and well spoken when reporting on diverse topics such as
“When did women start running marathons?” (EXCELLENT CLIP!)
“Could a pill cure obesity?”
“Where did the crazy cat lady stereotype come from?”

Freakonomics Radio- Topics are analyzed with a different outlook than one normally would take and the hard questions are asked. For example, one that I’m listening to right now is “The upside of quitting”. Very interesting perspective on why it’s sometimes okay or even better to move on to something else.

NPR: 7Am ET News Summary– This gives a 5 minute breakdown of the top current events from the previous day. They also have a podcast that specifically looks at one story of the day and reports on that. Great for a quick catch up on what’s going on in the world.


Source: Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know- This is my other favorite where two men will take a topic that, well, you should know more about. They will also expose you to different ideas or concepts that you may not be familiar with. For example, “How Alcatraz Works”, “Can People Die of Fright?”, and “Can You Control Your Dreams?”.

Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous- Sounds a little cheesy, and at times it is. But I enjoy some of the advice she gives on how to live a more healthy lifestyle and the breakdown on some of the latest health topics.

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Source: TED Talks

TED Talks- I love listening to these since they feature a variety of phenomenal public speakers from the TED Conferences where people share a message or idea based on the motto “ideas worth sharing”. One of my favorites is “One second every day” by director Cesar Kuriymama. It will completely change your view on capturing every moment in your life with your iPhone or camera and think about putting away the phone and truly enjoying those moments.

What are some of your favorite podcasts channels?

And finally, the biggest fascination of them all that has been taking up every spare moment I have, nearly forcing me to pull out a cot and live at Equinox the last month.

Fascination Number Three

One of my favorite parts of being at Women’s Health Magazine was researching the latest innovations in health science, fitness, and women’s lifestyle trends. I loved then sharing the information I found to help encourage people to set out to accomplish their fitness goals. But I’ve always wanted to take it one step further and have a more personal approach to helping people live a more fit and active lifestyle and feel better from the inside out. So after talking to my manager at Equinox and going through a couple stages of interviews with our fitness and personal training managers, I am incredibly excited to say that I am now a personal trainer at Equinox! And one of the best parts, I get to embark on this new experience with my other half here in New York!duoIt’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never had the schedule for as it truly is a full-time commitment with EFTI classes, floor shifts at the gym, meeting and building up clientele, working on my certifications, attending meetings and workshops, and doing research for each of my clients to make sure I build them a personalized program designed to fit their health/fitness needs.

I feel like I’m back in school with all the Anatomy and Kinesiology but love the challenge. The first day, my teacher suggested ordering the Anatomy Coloring Book and Flashcards to help make the class a little easier to take in for those of us who didn’t obtain a degree in Kinesiology. What was the first thing I did when I got home that day? You better believe I ordered them along with some crayons (gotta love free shipping and the convenience on Amazon.com!). These classes are given through Equinox as they have their own certification but they additionally want you to be certified in a national certification. After looking through the different certifications, I narrowed it down to the National Council on Strength and Fitness and am planning on taking the test this fall.

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Whew….there’s your summary of what’s been keeping me busy out of causing trouble lately! In between studying, classes, and spending countless hours at my home away from home, I hope to not be MIA for such a long period of time again. After all, life is just one big balancing act, right? Though I am very excited to be able to take the knowledge that I gain from my classes and certification and apply it through more in depth research on here. So here’s to the next few months of hitting the books and…..freckled

sharing my love/hate relationship for burpees with others!

Have you experienced a turn in your life? What did you do and what did you gain from taking a different direction?

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Oh the weather outside is frightful…

and it can be anything but delightful! All across the country people are either experiencing dry, scorching hot heat waves or ultra humid, sticky heat. And if you are by chance having delightful weather, please let me know where you are because I am booking a (potentially one-way) ticket and joining you in your paradise!


Source:  Some ECards

But for those of you who are experiencing an anything but mild summer, you’re also probably experiencing a change in your cravings, energy levels, and desire to do anything requiring moving around and breaking a sweat. The ironic aspect of this is that the summertime is when we shed the most clothes, yet many people experience a lack of shedding the pounds during the summer.

Why do people gain weight in the summer?

-More hours in the day= more time to play and more time to eat!

-Our body craves something cool and sweet, typically ice cream or meeting up with friends for a chilled drink.

-More BBQ’s and socializing with friends on outdoor patios. This means we’re not making our own meals and are eating out more frequently.

-It’s a popular time to go on vaca…therefore flushing all our mindful eating behaviors down the drain. Because of this many people tend to gain weight when they travel.

So how do we make healthy choices in the summer and find the energy to be active?
Here are some suggestions on what to incorporate into your summer diet to keep you feeling energized, without weighing you down, as well as some tips on how to safely get your exercise in during the heat of the summer.

Healthy habits when summer brings on the H.E.A.T

H– Hydrate


Source: Step Up and Go

When your internal temperature rises above its natural body temperature, roughly 98.6 degrees, your blood vessels expand to move blood flow to the skin and allow heat to be released through the skin. This is why your face starts to flush during exercise or when you’re warm. Your body will also start to sweat making it necessary to replenish lost liquids.

Turn to water or fruits and veggies containing a high percentage of water to help hydrate as opposed to caffeinated, sugary, alcoholic, or carbonated beverages. These are known as diuretic beverages as they cause you to lose even more water from your body and can leave you feeling nauseas and tired.

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TIP: Carry around a water bottle with you and fill it up throughout the day. This way you have no excuses for not having access to water and can prevent dehydration if you start to feel like you’re becoming dehydrated.

E– Eat Smart

Source: Sharc

Fruits and veggies with high water content are a bonus as they hydrate you and don’t sit heavy. Watermelon, berries, carrots, and yogurt are great staples to include in your diet that have a high water content. 

Avoid eating heavy, large meals which can cause indigestion and make you drag throughout the day instead of want to go out and enjoy summer festivities. Instead, eat small meals frequently that sit light.

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TIP:
Try topping yogurt or cottage cheese with cinnamon, mixed berries, and sliced almonds. The yogurt/cottage cheese increase the growth of bacteria in your stomach which in turn helps with digestion and reduces feeling bloated. The berries will hydrate you while the cinnamon boosts your metabolism and sliced almonds will help you to feel fuller for longer.

A- Attentive

Listen to your body and be aware of how it’s feeling. If you feel overheated, go someplace cool or lay down close to the ground since the temperature will be cooler there. Approximately 400 people die each year from excessive heat according to The Centers for Disease and Control, all of which could have been prevented.


Source: Walking on the Sun

TIP: Check to see what the weather forecast will be before you head out. Thanks to modern technology, weather reports can now give hourly reports so you know what times during the day will be the coolest and when it’s better to try and get out of the sun.

T– Train Smart

Summer brings many outdoor activities, which is a great way to get more active. However, it also increases your risk of injury or heatstroke if you’re not careful how or when you engage in these outdoor activities.

Muscle cramps, nausea, and hyperthermia can all happen if you don’t take proper precaution when choosing to be active outdoors. If you are going to be outside, wear loose, light clothes and try to avoid being active from mid-morning to mid-afternoon as this is typically the warmest time of the day when the sun is the most intense. Also be sure to wear sunblock and of course stay hydrated. 

TIP: It takes your body up to 14 days to acclimate to a change in the weather. Slowly increase your amount of time or the intensity of your workout so you don’t put your body at risk while exercising.

What’s your safe summer health tip?

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